Hello folks! It is with a little remorse today I share with you a potential move for the Swan’s to work in London is officially in the past. No more, the opportunity is gone. It is unfortunate; no doubt about it, Lucy and I were excited for the life changing experience. But there is a silver lining, and we continue to move forward.
As a quick backstory, it has been around nine months ago that our eyes first set on the new city. As someone who works in corporate finance, skills are pretty transferable to location and London is certainly one of the main finance hubs in the world.
On top of that, the company that I work for doesn’t have all that much of a presence in London, but they are intent on growing it. I began networking and soon thereafter it seemed like a very real possibility for the Swans to make the move. It was communicated to me that in no uncertain terms, there will be a spot for me in a few months’ time.
That’s when the waiting game began. Unfortunately after a few months’ time, the game changed. In January 2017, a reorganization of the London group was announced. It is for the best that I hadn’t made the move already as I wouldn’t want to be caught up in all that uncertainty in a foreign country. But the game has officially changed…people are losing their jobs, people are being shuffled around, reporting structures are changing, and the strategy for expansion in London / Europe is evolving…
Then, as if it were fate, another opportunity in a similar group opened in London. They were looking to place someone in London and get them up and running by July. I didn’t get my hopes up. While they were looking for someone with a similar level of experience as myself, I knew this opportunity would be a bit more of a stretch.
I was still hopeful though. I interviewed in the beginning of May and it was a good opportunity for both parties to feel the other out. In the end, both parties felt it would be a good fit, but not great. Don’t get me wrong, I would have accepted the job if offered. It would have been a real challenge and a unique experience, plus London would be really hard to say no to.
So with that, it is time to put London in the rear view mirror for now and move on.
It’s Not Goodbye
That brings us to the silver lining. London would have put our FIRE plans on hold. They would have been on hold while we lived the dream, a “retirement lite” experience. The experience of living in London and traveling Europe is something we definitely have on our bucket list.
While relocating and working / experiencing Europe at the same time would have been great and fulfilling, it doesn’t mean we can’t have these experiences when we are finally ready to retire.
Also, it isn’t like relocating to London would be as simple as any of our prior moves (the Midwest to San Fran or from San Fran to Charlotte). London would have been much more difficult. It would have required selling the house, the cars, moving the majority of our belongings to storage, and going through the visa process (for me, my wife, our 3 year old, and our newborn…). And then once in London it would have required building back up our new life and routine including (preferably) finding new work for Lucy, daycare for the newborn, and school for the 3 year old.
Quite a process, huh?! A process that we were up for undertaking, but a hassle nonetheless.
So we forge on. But London, we’ll be back and ready to experience you and the rest of Europe to the fullest…eventually.
We remain in pursuit of our fully funded lifestyle change (FFLC) as Mr. and Mrs. SSC like to call it. Our invested assets are over $1.2 million. Each year we work we are adding over 4 years’ worth of expenses into those retirement accounts. We expect to reach full-fledged Financial Independence in about three years based on a 3.5% safe withdrawal rate. As we near the point of Financial Independence, we’d like to downshift a bit. Move it into auto-pilot. And particularly for me, find a less demanding gig and one that I can take more enjoyment from.
Ideally we’d be looking for something that still easily covered our annual expenses, but have more time for our growing family.
It doesn’t hurt for us to begin looking ahead to figure out what that may be as sometime in the next few years we’ll be looking to make some major changes. I’ve asked each of my FIRE-Side Chat guests where they envision spending their retirement days (e.g. beach or mountain, etc). For us, we’ve started to conclude beach is the answer, or perhaps a lake.
Is that the long term answer? Maybe, but maybe not. But that is where we’d like to begin our retirement journey. With that in mind, we can start to think about what type of gigs we’d like which would allow us to work and ingrain ourselves in the community and begin the process of coasting into retirement (pun intended).
Coasting by the Coast
For me, as a banker, I see two main options. One is transitioning into an audit/consulting role for my current employer. It would require more travel (about a third of my time), but it may allow for me to work remotely (at the beach) for the other two thirds. It would also not require any night and weekend work and as such no more missed vacations or unexpected time away from family. The trade-off there would be a 15-20% reduction of my salary, although still easily six-figures.
The other option would be finding a role at a local community or regional bank, perhaps as a small business lender or risk approval officer. The presumed trade-off again would be a lot less demanding work along with a lot less pay, but at this stage in my career it may be worth it.
And for Lucy, you ask? Well thankfully her job and employer has even greater flexibility than mine. Working in hospitality, there would be plenty of hotels to find another gig at near beach and resort locations that we’d be considering. And the other option she has is working for the regional sales office remotely. She has direct experience with this position already and would be a natural fit. This is even a potential consideration for her today.
Coasting into retirement near the coast sounds nice, huh? For now, the plan will be spending the next couple years scouting out locations and formulating plans and ideas. Do we stay in state and head to the North Carolina beaches, perhaps Hilton Head Island or Charleston, or how about Orange Beach, AL which came up on a quick google search for best beach locations?
There is a lot to look forward to and a lot left to figure out as we continue on our winding road toward FIRE. Thank you for continuing to follow along!
The Green Swan